STEP 1: REGISTER to Vote - If you have never registered to vote in your state, you may do so via ROCK THE VOTE, or via VOTEXAS for Texas residents. Voter registration is always free. While the ability to vote in local, state and national elections is indeed a federal “right”, voting privileges may be denied under certain circumstances. Voter eligibility requirements and/or deal breakers for the state of Texas include:
· Voter must maintain United States citizenship · Voter must be at least 18 years old on election day & legally registered · Convicted felons may not exercise the right to vote (eligibility may be reinstated upon parole) · Individuals legally declared completely or partially mentally incapacitated may not vote
TIP: Register to vote no later than October 6 to be sure you are registered for the November 6, 2012 national election.
STEP 2: RESEARCH Your Vote – So, you want to vote, but you don’t know who to vote for. No problem! The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are hard at work whittling down the list of potential contenders. Barack Obama is currently uncontested as the presidential nominee for the DNC. The RNC will hold a series of debates and caucuses (informal elections) until the official nominee is announced in August at the national convention. Although the constitution does not mandate a two-party electorate, the United States has historically held elections based on a two party system represented by the Republican party & the Democratic party (otherwise known as Republicans and Democrats).
Many new voters tend to adopt the political party affiliations of their parents, or other influential forces from their youth. Perhaps your political beliefs and/or philosophy is indeed closely aligned with the political party in which you were “raised”. However, I think it’s better to have a mind of your own. While I do in fact share the same political ideology (beliefs, philosophy & values) with my parents, I only share this ideology because it is the philosophy I would favor apart from their influence. It’s important to remember that you are essentially voting for your collective political ideology, not necissarily a person. Take this POLITICAL TYPOLOGY ASSESSMENT to explore your own personal political beliefs without the influence of party labels or associations.
Want to know more about the party your personal philosophy is most aligned with? Check out this article on COMPARATIVE POLITICAL IDEOLOGY (very basic, but a good place to start).
STEP 3: ROCK Your Vote! – You are officially registered; you know who to vote for, what next? Prepare for election day! You cannot vote online from your home office in your jammies. Voting requires effort (that you should be privileged to exert, in my opinion). The voting process takes place in person at a specified location within your district on a specific day within a certain time frame. Prior to election day, plan to exercise your right to vote by scheduling it into your day (before work or school, on your lunch break, etc…). You will need to know the following information: · The date of the election – The 2012 Presidential Election date is November 6, 2012. Sign up here for free ELECTION REMINDERS. · Official election sites – You are required to vote at specific locations within your voting district. Click here to access POLLING PLACES BY STATE. Be sure to take note of the voting hours.
Last but not least, be sure to have an official and approved government photo ID for your voting excursion. As of January 1, 2012, Senate bill 14 requires that Texas voters show one of the following photo ID formats at the polling location. · Texas Driver’s License issued by the Dept. of Public Safety (“DPS”) · Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS; · Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS; · Texas Concealed Handgun License issued by DPS; · United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph; · United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph; · United States Passport.